Satoru SUGIHARA speaks on agent-based design, consumption and development of scripted tools, emergence, and much more.
images, clockwise from top left: Kenichi KABEYA; Sarah MAANSSON; Federico PESSANI; Sarah MAANSSON. All work completed as part of “Coding Form,” SCIFI Seminar, Fall 2012. Satoru SUGIHARA, instructor.
suckerPUNCH: Could you tell us a bit about the recent seminars you have taught?
Satoru SUGIHARA: I teach a scripting seminar using processing and the iGeo library. The seminar not only provides fundamental computer programming skills for beginners in computer programming, but also enables students to conduct quick and basic research on complex system science to them gives an understanding of the bottom-up logic of emergence. This allows them to explore an agent-based design approach through computational design projects.
SS: What positive and negative baggage do you see current students bringing to the table?
SS: The current generation of students is very aware of the importance of technology and has strong skills to search, combine, and edit tools available on the Web. The upside of this is that they are willing to challenge new technologies and dig for more information on the Web. The downside is that, because they are only used to searching, using, and tweaking the tools, software, and plug-ins they find online, they very quickly get results and they tend to be reluctant to develop a tool from scratch (requiring a both deeper understanding of a design problem and the time it takes to learn and develop a code before it starts producing favorable outputs).
sP: What do you see as the role of (professional) practice in architecture education today? How do you see your teaching influencing your practice?
SS: On the one hand, my professional work as a computational-design consultant effects my teaching by focusing not only on scripting activities as part of a designer’s internal design process, but also on the representation of design logics and the production of visual materials consistent with any design logic coded in a script. On the other hand, the feedback I get through interactions with students building and using new codes and scripts helps me to gain a deeper insight into usability of the tools I am developing as a tool builder.
sP: What differences do you see from when you were in school, either in pedagogy of your generation to that above you or in topics of discussion?
SS: There’s more transparency in design education through things like the blogosphere and the emergence of a network of students as both tool consumers and tool developers.
sP: Could you tell us a bit about what makes SCIFI at SCI-Arc unique?
SS: SCIFI students learn together with other architectural design students in my scripting seminar, and it is exciting to see an exchange and mixture of different techniques played out at the urban scale and developed via the abstract level of computational logic.